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Re: What would your ideal language be like...

> - a small footprint
> - easy to do file i/o
> - easy to manipulate strings
> - good interface to the operating system

These all imply a "little" language in the
sense that it is a language in which it is
easy to write little parts of big systems,
systems in which other parts may well be
written in other languages.

For that purpose, I might add:
- easy to do clipboard/gui i/o
- links like an old C library

(which is to say: doesn't require language
specific runtime support, doesn't need a
great deal of interface declaration, plays
well with other heaps/threads/languages in
a process, etc.)

> I don't think it's a lot to ask, but I've often found myself
> reading language descriptions or manuals, and after
> five chapters found nothing about how to open a file...

K+R did this nicely.  Consider "hello, world":
at one level, they were introducing a constant
function before they moved on to one which took
many values (F->C conversion), but on another
level, they gave an example of a common library
function and its boilerplate.

Once one gives examples of theoretical forms,
I don't see any harm in providing, en passant,
some practical content inside them.  On one
hand, like the stories in a sermon, it gives
the uncultured louts something to keep their
attention; on the other, if the elegance of
the examples vanishes once they roll up their
sleeves, perhaps the language is "little" in
the sense that a lot of it becomes a mess.